Make a Fistful of Slime! Activity

3.5 based on 202 ratings
Updated on Sep 20, 2012

By fifth grade, kids haven't yet decided that chemistry is confusing or uncool - it's just straight up fun! Help keep your child's scientific enthusiasm alive by giving them them the coolest, craziest experiments to try!

In this experiment,  you'll get your kid's hands on a concoction that breaks the rules of what's a solid and what's a liquid. Sometimes called “oobleck” after the Dr. Seuss nonsense word, this unique slime has some surprising behaviors that will leave young experimenters craving more chemistry!

What You Need:

  • Bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Cornstarch
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Resealable plastic bag

What You Do:

  1. Pour ⅓ cup of water into the bowl. If you want to add food coloring, drip five drops into the water.
  2. Measure ¾ cup of cornstarch and begin sprinkling it into the water, a little at a time, until the measuring cup is empty.
  3. Let the concoction stand for three or four minutes.
  4. Now reach a hand (or both!) into the concoction and press the slime into a hard ball. Open your hand and watch and feel the ball return to its liquid state!
  5. Store your slime in a resealable bag. (Never pour slime down the drain. If you need to discard it, put it in the trash.)

Why it Works

Slime is a polymer (a natural or man-made compound made of long chains of identical molecules called monomers). It's also a "non-Newtonian fluid." That means it breaks the rules that scientist Isaac Newton wrote saying a liquid moves and acts the same whether you're squeezing it, holding it, or just observing it. How does it do it? Cross-links of molecules and the right proportion of ingredients!

Adapted from "Cool Chemistry Concoctions: 50 Formulas that Fizz, Foam, Splatter and Ooze" by Joe Rhatigan and Veronika Alice Gunter (Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 2007).

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